As Yglz points out, Sarah Palin said something completely sensible — "Sarah Palin told a customer at a Philadelphia restaurant on Saturday that the United States should “absolutely” launch cross-border attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan in the event that it becomes necessary to “stop the terrorists from coming any further in," says CBS — and now John McCain retracted it:

Sen. John McCain retracted Sarah Palin’s stance on Pakistan Sunday morning, after the Alaska governor appeared to back Sen. Barack Obama’s support for unilateral strikes inside Pakistan against terrorists

"She would not…she understands and has stated repeatedly that we’re not going to do anything except in America’s national security interest," McCain told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos of Palin. "In all due respect, people going around and… sticking a microphone while conversations are being held, and then all of a sudden that’s—that’s a person’s position… This is a free country, but I don’t think most Americans think that that’s a definitive policy statement made by Governor Palin."

Pitiful. Before I wondered what McCain actually believes about the place of Pakistan in the war against al-Qaeda. I suppose it remains unclear, unless McCain wants to be taken at face value that it’s not in "America’s national security interest" to follow al-Qaeda operatives into Pakistan. But, as Sarah Palin evidently believes, that flies in the face of common sense. Does McCain really want to run for president on the basis of a "hit ’em where they ain’t" policy against al-Qaeda? Or is this just a cynical attempt at sticking his thumbs in his ears and refusing to admit that his critique of Obama as unprepared to lead boxes him into a position of total absurdity with regard to the terrorist movement that he says we’re in a "generational" war against?

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman